Yekindar and Team Liquid should definitely team up for future events
Two months ago, the Latvian entry-fragger was on the bench at Virtus Pro, wondering when his next shot at glory would come. But professional sport has a funny way of allowing you opportunities when you least expect it. Today, YEKINDAR’s career is on an unprecedented high as he powers Team Liquid’s miracle recovery through the lower bracket of IEM Cologne 2022.
Mareks ‘YEKINDAR’ Galinskis… remember the name.
Liquid goes on a magical ride at IEM Cologne 2022
From being a late call-up for Richard “shox” Papillon, who stepped down in June, YEKINDAR has proved a signing that was borne out of desperation, one that didn’t guarantee any success because he hadn’t had much game time coming in, has been a gamble worth its weight in gold.
It’s not as if the opportunity came with a silver spoon. He had a tough initiation as Liquid were reverse swept by Team Spirit in his opening match at IEM Cologne 2022. YEKINDAR himself had a slow start and found the going tough. A rough debut, with 55-60 K/D and a 0.96 rating left him and the team with the prospect of having to win three games back-to-back in the lower bracket to make it through to the quarterfinals.
Not only did they win those three, but did so emphatically. 00Nation, Cloud9, FURIA have all been vanquished. Up next are Movistar Riders in the quarterfinals come Friday. YEKINDAR, like everyone else, will be hoping to turn up and conjure magic.
Knowing how to scout talent and role
Man management is one of the most misunderstood, perhaps even underrated facets, to modern-day teams. A player who feels valued has the potential to deliver more returns than he would in an environment where he’s just seen as another player.
YEKINDAR admitted to feeling like he was one among many “robots” at Virtus Pro. The shift to Liquid, who recognised his skill sets and offered him a role he was perhaps only dreaming of, was the opening he needed to fast-track his young career and take it to another sphere. Team Liquid are known for scouting some of the best CSGO players of all time.
Now, Team Liquid can look back at their signing fondly. Whatever can go right has gone right. It makes you wonder if he’s here to stay now, on a full-time basis. On his part, YEKINDAR hasn’t hid his ambitions of hoping to get a full-time contract with the team if the opportunity is presented to him.
Liquid should consider signing Yekindar ASAP
In any case, he has been contemplating opportunities since May. He was briefly linked with a possible move to Natus Vincere, but those talks died down as quickly as they rose. The signing with Liquid worked out well mutually since they had been struggling with form issues, with mostly group stage exits at the most important events of the calendar year. YEKINDAR had been massively impressive with strong individual play with the Outsiders, yet with opportunities hard to come by after PGL Major Antwerp, he had to look out.
In any case, being a European and featuring for a Russian organisation with ties to the Kremlin had put him in a spot. It had the potential to keep him away from top flight action for a considerable length of time if he didn’t find a new team. As an individual, approaching every major with an axe over your head does no good. But fortunately for him, the timing of the signing, even if on a short-term basis, made it a win-win situation for both parties.
Playoffs is one major box ticked, but he’s aiming for glory. In many ways, the timing of his rise has the potential to be career-changing because IEM Cologne is the last S-tier tournament of the year ahead of the summer break. A rating of 1.03 across 10 maps speaks volumes of his abilities. His presence has lent a new dimension to how Liquid have approached their maps.
He had been knocking on the doors of several big teams over the past year or so. He was the eighth-best CS:GO player in the world in 2021, and is among the best CSGO players available in the free market. In such a short time, apart from having made an impact, YEKINDAR has displayed the analytical side to him, thereby making him possibly a key part of the think tank. Training 14 hours a day in the build-up to Cologne, where opportunities weren’t a guarantee, was another mark of his commitment in being the best version of himself.
YEKINDAR has put his arm out, and is in a position from where there’s already enough recognition of his abilities. Liquid, who have nurtured much of this, now have an opportunity to make this a long-term partnership, one that could usher in an exciting new chapter in their CS:GO history as they hunt for the title.